DeKalb entered a federal consent decree in 2011 to improve its long-neglected sewer system and eliminate spills to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. Neglect, mismanagement and corruption produced years of little progress — and the consent decree's original deadline on June 20 of this year passed with the county still a long, long way from fulfilling its promises.
The case was reopened last month in Atlanta’s U.S. District Court and assigned to a new judge. County officials and representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division have confirmed that a new agreement is being hashed out but have otherwise provided few details.
Asked for an update Friday, a DeKalb County spokesman said only that “negotiations are ongoing.”
Thurmond took office as DeKalb’s chief executive in 2017 and has claimed the sewer system as a priority. But he regularly describes the overhaul as “a process, not an event.”
As Thurmond sees it, the county is in the third year of what will be a decade-long, billion-dollar project.